Squiz Today / 18 February 2022

Squiz Today – Friday, 18 February

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Squiz Today Podcast

A hand-crafted news algorithm. 

Today’s listen time: 9 minutes

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Squiz Sayings


Is the new term Meta (aka Facebook) founder Mark Zuckerberg wants employees to refer to each other as. He says it’s about “taking care of our company and each other”. Cue the Metamockers…

Remembering Darwin’s dark day

Tomorrow morning, Darwin locals will gather at the Cenotaph to commemorate the 80th anniversary of Japan’s bombing of the northern capital in WWII. It was the first attack on Australian soil, and it remains the largest. This week, Darwin Mayor Kon Vatskalis said it is “an event of national significance” and “a part of our history all Australians should be aware of.”

Us too, but not much of the details, so let’s get to it… Darwin was (and is) strategically important, but historians say it was poorly defended given Japan was out to prevent Australian and US forces from using it as a base to fend off their advance in the region. And so, just before 10am on Thursday, 19 February 1942, the first of 2 waves of Japanese aircraft dropped their bombs on Darwin. In total, 240 bombers targetted ships in the harbour and the local airstrip leaving widespread damage and more than 240 civilians and Australian and US service personnel dead. More tough days followed – it was the first of 64 Japanese raids on Darwin between then and November 1943. There are many myths about the attacks… Accounts say it was mayhem after that first attack, and at least half of the civilians living there fled. The jury’s out on that. However, historians are sure that claims that men rode bikes to Alice Springs to get away aren’t true…

Tomorrow’s commemoration service will be live-streamed for the first time, so you can log in and check it out if you aren’t in Darwin. One guy who will be there with bells on is 101yo Brian Winspear, the last surviving veteran who was there. In the lead up to the event, he recalled what it was like on the day. “I looked up, and the sun glinted on the bombs as they were falling, and it was just like confetti.” Terrifying…

Australian News

Squiz the Rest

NSW and Victoria ditch Omicron restrictions, and the latest on COVID news

COVID restrictions are being wound back from today in the 2 states that have seen the most COVID cases, including during the latest Omicron wave. In NSW, mask mandates, QR codes and density limits will be scrapped. And we hope you’ve stayed in tune/step because singing/dancing is back too. Victoria’s on the same page except for masks – they are still required indoors.

Thinking back to last month with all the Omicron disruption, it felt like so many businesses were closed. That’s hasn’t resulted in a jump in the headline unemployment rate of 4.2%, but fewer hours were clocked in January. After taking holiday leave into account, the Bureau of Statistics yesterday said the number of hours worked plunged nearly 9% last month with NSW and Victoria posting the steepest dives. Ouch.

And it won’t be a huge surprise to learn that the number of travellers coming to Oz in 2021 was a fraction of what they were pre-pandemic. For short-term arrivals, we clocked 245,770 visitors last year, and in 2019 it was 9,465,890. Double ouch…


Searching for a great white

Authorities are searching for a great white shark that killed a swimmer off Sydney’s Little Bay Beach on Wednesday. Based on eyewitness accounts, they reckon it was a big one – somewhere between 3-5 metres in length. In an attempt to catch it, 6 SMART drumlines (which are basically big shark traps with baited hooks) have been installed off Sydney’s eastern beaches because they believe the shark still poses a threat. The victim has been named – he was 35yo British national/diving instructor Simon Nellist. Described by a mate as “one of the people who make this earth lighter,” Nellist was training for an ocean swim that was scheduled for this weekend. The first fatal attack off a Sydney beach in almost 60 years has experts pointing to warmer-than-usual water temperatures and an abundance of bait fish. #SquizShortcut

Australian News

Australia’s biggest coal-fired power plant to close early

Origin Energy wants to shut down its Eraring power station in NSW’s Lake Macquarie in 2025 – that’s 7 years earlier than planned, and takes 400 jobs with it. It’s Australia’s largest coal-fired electricity generator, and it supplies NSW with 20% of its power. But with more renewable energy being generated, Origin says “rapidly changing” market conditions have made the plant financially unviable. Federal Energy Minister Angus Taylor called the decision “bitterly disappointing” for Australians who “rely on affordable, reliable energy to prosper”. NSW Treasurer Matt Kean was also “disappointed” but said he was working with Origin on a “super battery” to be installed at the site that would be the biggest in the Southern Hemisphere. While the closure of coal-fired plants helps reduce carbon emissions, regulators (and politicians…) are worried that early shutdowns could create price and supply issues.

Australian News Business & Finance

Valieva out of the medals

Last night, all eyes were on the women’s singles figure skating and Russian teenager Kamila Valieva. She’s been the talk of the Winter Olympics since we found out last week she failed a drug test in December but was allowed to continue competing. And after all the build-up, she finished 4th – and in tears. Valieva was in the lead after the short program on Tuesday and she landed a rare quadruple jump to begin her routine, but it went downhill from there. She fell 4 times during her performance, and as she left the ice, she cried into her hands for minutes. “She should not have been allowed to compete. It’s devastating that she was put in this situation, on all levels,” said American skater Polina Edmunds. Ultimately the win went to Valieva’s Russian teammate Anna Shcherbakova. Next up for the controversial 15yo: an investigation into her and her team over the positive drug test. That could take months… The Beijing Games wrap up on Sunday.


Fans get wound up over Wordle

We don’t know about you, but Wordle is a hot topic of conversation with our buddies… Since the migration of the crazy-popular word game to The New York Times recently, there are claims it’s harder and that players are getting different puzzles. For its part, the Times claims “nothing has changed” about the way the game works and that it is “committed to continuing what makes the game great”. But one thing it has done is remove some obscure/rude words from the list “to keep the puzzle accessible to more people”. Yay…That includes removing the British/Aussie spelling of words like ‘fibre’, so American English it is. Boo… As for those who reckon Wordle has become more challenging, those claims have been debunked. It’s just a caulking coincidence, apparently…

Quirky News World News

Friday Lites – Three things we liked this week

If you’ve been Squizing for a while, you might have first heard of Anna Sorokin/Delvey here because when the New York mag article on her blew up the internet in 2018, we were onto it. And now a sympathetic account of the Russian woman pretending to be a German heiress who fooled New York’s social elite – Inventing Annais out on Netflix. Highly entertaining – 5 stars, Margaret. 

We’re struggling with what to wear on weekdays at the moment, and these pants have been a saviour. Paired with a cotton button-up shirt, it’s about as dressy as it gets at the moment. We’re also eyeing off the jeans version

This week’s story underlining that eating lots of different plants is important to good gut health has again reminded us we don’t get enough fruit and veg. So we’re making Sunday night ‘try a new salad night’ – and this list of 52 recipes will get us through… the next few weeks, maybe. Don’t say we’re not thrillseekers…

Friday Lites

Do the Squiz Quiz

Reckon you know which American crime/drama franchise is coming Down Under next year? Have a crack at the Squiz Quiz.

Squiz the Day

12.30pm (AEDT) – Winter Olympics Women’s Freeski Halfpipe Final – Beijing. Watch out for American-Chinese Eileen Gu, who will be hoping to claim a record 3rd medal

7.10pm (AEDT) – Men’s 4th T20 Cricket Match – Australia v Sri Lanka – Richmond

7.45pm (AEDT) – Super Rugby Pacific Round 1 – NSW Waratahs v Fijian Drua – Sydney

Company Results – QBE; Sonic Healthcare

International Asperger’s Day

The Adelaide Fringe festival starts (on until 20 March)

Birthdays for Yoko Ono (1933), John Travolta (1954), Dr Dre (1965) and Molly Ringwald (1968)

Anniversary of:
• Mark Twain publishing The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn in the US (1885)
• the establishment of the first Church of Scientology in Los Angeles (1954)
• the last person being legally executed in New Zealand (1957)

Squiz the Day

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